Book Review: Angel of Fire / Author: William King / Publisher: The Black Library / Release Date: June 27th
Angel of Fire is an interesting release for two reasons; the first is that it deals with the Macharian Crusade, a sparsely detailed part of the Warhammer 40,000 setting and the second is that it’s written by William King, a well loved novelist who has only recently returned to writing after a 10 year break. Fans will be happy to hear that the creator of Gotrek & Felix hasn’t lost his touch; Angel of Fire is a return to form.
King tells his tale in a relaxed, almost conversational style; you can almost imagine the novel’s main protagonist (a tank driver called Leo) bending your ear with this nicely crafted war story. Like all of the Black Library books, it’s told through the eyes of a less then reliable narrator. There’s a deep vein of humour throughout the book, and this adds much needed spice to a gritty tale of death and destruction. Angel of Fire is the tale of a world under siege. The inhabitants of the planet Karsk IV have fallen under the spell of a sinister cult, who prefer flame and fanaticism to reason and duty. The intergalactic empire, known as The Imperium of Man, refuses to stand for this sort of corruption and decides to root out the cult with extreme prejudice.
Cue our brave tank driver and his companions. Under the guidance of the legendary general Lord Solar Macharius, Leo finds himself first in a difficult and dangerous war and then coming closer to Machiarius than he ever thought possible. This is a novel filled with big tanks, huge detachments of Imperial Guard soldiers, sinister goings on and yes, big angelic things on fire. The main characters are likeable and engaging, the pacing quick and accessible and the plots and sub-plots are the sort of thing you demand from a series which has the tag-line “In the grim dark future there is only war”.
Fans of future war stories with a supernatural bent will enjoy this, and those unfamiliar with the Warhammer 40,000 books looking to get into the setting may find this a good place to start.